Workforce Development Councils

Workforce Development Councils

Last updated 1 October 2019
Last updated 1 October 2019

Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) will help industry take a lead in making New Zealand’s workforce fit for today, and the future. Through skills leadership plans, they will set a vision for the workforce and influence the vocational education and training system. Four to seven WDCs will be created for this purpose.

We have held five public meetings

We have held five public meetings around the country over the last few weeks. See the output documents below to find out some key themes from these meetings.

Please find out output documents from our meetings below:

Hamilton – 17 September 2019 (PDF, 563 Kb)
Christchurch – 19 September 2019 (PDF, 750 Kb)
Wellington – 20 September 2019 (PDF, 744 Kb)
Auckland - 25 September 2019 (PDF, 687 Kb)
Auckland - 26 September 2019 (PDF, 1 Mb)

Please find a copy of the presentation given at our meetings below:

WDC Public Meeting Presentation (PDF, 1 Mb)

Please note that this presentation was adjusted slightly for some of the public meetings.

Send us your views

You can contact us by email with your thoughts:

We will also engage directly with some large employers and industry associations. If this describes you and we haven’t been in touch, please send us an email at

Following the meetings, we will summarise what we heard and publish it here.

Please ensure that any written feedback is sent to by 11 October 2019.

Please note that feedback, submitted to us by email or recorded at meetings, will inform decisions about WDCs. We may also choose to publically release any feedback we receive.

WDCs work and purpose

WDCs will set standards, develop qualifications and help shape the curriculum of vocational education. They will moderate assessments against industry standards and, where appropriate, set and moderate capstone assessments at the end of a qualification.

WDCs will also provide advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on investment in vocational education, and determine the appropriate mix of skills and training for the industries they cover.

WDCs will endorse programmes that lead onto qualifications, whether work-based (such as apprenticeships), on-campus or online. Unless a programme has the confidence of a WDC, which is essentially industry confidence, it won’t be approved nor funded. 

Besides setting expectations, providing skills leadership and setting standards, WDCs will provide employers with brokerage and advisory services. WDCs won’t, however, be directly involved in arranging apprenticeships and other on-the-job training.

The TEC and Ministry of Education are working together on the development of WDCs.

Industries WDCs will cover

Each WDC will be responsible for different industry areas.

We are considering different ways that industries could be arranged under WDCs. We want to hear from as many people as possible about the options.

One option is to align the WDCs with the Vocational Pathways.

Shaping WDCs around the Vocational Pathways

The Vocational Pathways are six industry groups that align with the different standards at levels 1, 2 and 3 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

The six Vocational Pathway areas are:

  • Creative Industries
  • Primary Industries (Food & Fibre)
  • Service Industries
  • Social and Community Services
  • Construction and Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing and Technology.

We could use these six industry areas to form six WDCs.

Another view of potential WDC coverage, as presented by ITOs

Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) have suggested WDCs could align largely with the Vocational Pathways, but have also suggested some additional changes, and the addition of a Professional and ICT Services WDC. This WDC would represent areas such as financial and banking services, real estate, ICT services and management/administration.

The groupings proposed by ITOs are as follows:

  • Construction and Infrastructure
  • Creative, Cultural and Recreation Services
  • Health, Community and Public Services
  • Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics
  • Primary and Related Manufacturing
  • Professional and ICT Services
  • Service Industries (or People Services)

We could potentially share some functions across the WDCs

Some WDC work will be common to all of them. Shared functions could include some, or all, of the below:

  • Common skills standards such as management, literacy and numeracy, health and safety
  • Options for combined back office functions
  • Information procurement and sharing
  • Centralised TEC advice function
  • Centralised planning function for data.

What is happening to the arranging of training for apprentices and trainees?

In the short term, there is no change to training via your ITO.

You can continue to hire and train apprentices and staff through your relevant ITO. Support for training arrangements will not stop.

In time, providers will support the training in your workplace, but only when the providers have the necessary skills and capabilities.

The Government’s current priority is establishing the WDCs. Once we know what industries each WDC will cover, the next step will be to help industry establish the WDCs.

After that, we will work through the changes that will be made to the arrangement of training activities.